How does fused deposition modeling (fdm) works?

fused deposition modeling (fdm)
Published By - Kelsey Taylor

In this article, we will learn how fused depositions modeling (FDM) works. But before that, we need to understand what FDM is? Fused deposition modelling is nothing but a manufacturing technology that is used for 3D printing. With FDM, you can create 3-dimensional objects using CAD data. It is a widely used manufacturing technology that has been heavily adopted by automobile industries. This technology makes complex parts from testing tools to final functional components.

What is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)?

Fused deposition modelling or filament fabrication is an additive manufacturing activity used in many businesses to construct three-dimensional printing. The first step of FDM is to import an STL file which is a stereolithography CAD software made up by 3D Systems, into a pre-processing software. FDM process parameters play an important role in improving the quality of manufactured parts.
There are four important parameters of FDM as given below:

  • Layer Thickness
  • Raster Angle
  • Road Width
  • Number of contours

In FDM technology, we use FDM printers to create the 3-D object. These printers eject thermoplastic filaments into a series of layers to construct a thing over the plate. Then these Computer designed objects work as files so that 3D printers can translate them. Support materials are removed once an object is printed using FDM. Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is used in various manufacturing companies worldwide, such as automobile, goods manufacturing, drug and food packaging, and many more.

Why is FDM used?

Fused deposition modelling (FDM) printing is a phenomenon developed by Scott Crump in 1989. It is an expensive process of printing that uses a large number of plastics and add carbon fibre and other materials. But FDM technique can use for printing various objects, starting from kid’s toys to industrial parts. It has the best quality printing parts.

The construction of products is according to customer expectations, so the demand for the FDM manufacturing process has increased. Most industries have taken an interest in the FDM printing phenomenon. It is a cost and time-saving process that led to many rapid prototyping technology improvements.

Fused Deposition Modeling Process

The FDM printing starts with the FDM software process. Stratasys develop FDM software to process an STL file in a short period. It uses two types of support materials, one for the model and the other for the support structure. By ejecting the thermoplastics, FDM machine print items. In FDM 3D printing machines, the material comes in the filament.

The FDM printing machine has two ends: the cold end and the hot end. The use of the hot end is for the heating chamber to flow the liquid, and the cold end is to pull material. The temperature maintains with the help of electrical coils. However, a system adjusts the temperature coming towards the FDM machine from the power supply.

By adding thermoplastic with mechanical pressure, it melt and extruded from the rollers. Similarly, the rollers play an essential role in driving the FDM printing process’s mechanism. Hence, the rollers produce the driving force needed for the extrusion process.

Benefits of using FDM

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology and 3D printers work together to construct strong and durable parts with the best quality and accuracy of any 3-dimensional printing technique.

According to Wikipedia, “Fused filament printing is now the most popular process (by a number of machines) for hobbyist-grade 3D printing. Other techniques such as photopolymerisation and powder sintering may offer better results, but they are much more costly.”

The benefits of FDM are as given below:

  • The FDM printing technology is clean and simple to use.
  • It supports production-grade thermoplastics.
  • FDM technology is mechanically and environmentally stable
  • The operating cost is less.
  • With FDM technology, we can construct the printers for general use also.
  • FDM is a reliable, user-friendly and affordable method to build an object.

Advantages of FDM 3D printing

Here we discuss some advantages of fused deposition modelling 3-dimensional printing.

  • Firstly, FDM printers are cost-effective and the most reliable to use.
  • Secondly, The material required for FDM printing is less expensive.
  • The objects printed using FDM technology can use for various purposes, and these are more durable.
  • The printers constructed using FDM are easy to operate.
  • This technology is excellent to study more about 3D printing.
  • FDM printing technique is generally faster than other techniques.
  • Lastly, Fused deposition modelling printers are available in significant construction volumes.

Disadvantages of FDM 3D printing

Using Fused deposition modelling printers has some disadvantages. Let’s discuss some of them:

  • FDM printers have some limitations. We can use it in the complexity of models they can produce. We use SLA machines for more complex models.
  • The ventilated environment is a preferable option for an FDM printing technology.
  • Many times, the object’s quality varies depending on the manufacturing machine.
  • If the printer cannot produce the proper amount of plastic, then a missing layer will arise.

Applications of FDM

Let’s discuss some applications of FDM manufacturing technique:

Concept models creation:

The first step of product development is FDM printing which creates concept models. FDM technique reduced the cost of production and saved time.

Prototypes for Testing Purpose:

With the help of FDM technology, we can create a prototype. As we know, prototypes play an important role in testing. Prototypes help to test with the real-world environment and make decisions that affect the cost of manufacturing.

Fabrication of end-use parts:

FDM develops end-use parts fabrication with fewer expenses and a short period. We can use these end-use parts for final product making process. Without traditional tooling, FDM constructs the best product with quality and durability.

Fabrication of manufacturing tools:

With the FDM printing technology, businesses can reduce the manufacturing process time by 85%. FDM develop manufacturing tools used for fabrication like jigs and fixtures.

FDM technology creates FDM printed devices. Starting from prototypes to final parts, various Industries such as automotive, medical, aerospace etc., have already used this technology in their manufacturing process.


In conclusion, the use of Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is for various product manufacturing processes like fabrication, mechanical system modelling etc. FDM technology used in the processing and handling of 3D printing provides flexibility to the material. FDM printing process is quick and inexpensive, so widely used by companies. This technology is ideal because it is cost-effective and does not need chemical postprocessing.

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